Prompt Assessment of Needs (PAON)

In December 2017, St Patrick's Mental Health Services (SPMHS) made enhancements to the way referrals are assessed in order to improve the speed of access to services; this was in response to feedback from service users and referrers on waiting times to access initial outpatient assessment in the Dean Clinics. Any referrals received for Dean Clinic assessment are now transferred into the new Referral and Assessment Service and offered a free-of-charge Prompt Assessment of Needs (PAON) by an experienced mental health nurse. This allows for more prompt, efficient mental health assessment and onward referral to the most appropriate service.

Service users can access the PAON from their own home, without the need to travel to a clinic. A range of communications technologies, including telephone and audiovisual technologies such as Skype or FaceTime, are used to provide the assessment. The choice of communication with the Referral and Assessment Service is based on the service user’s preference.

The table below provides the number and percentages of adult PAONs completed and the outcome of each PAON in 2018. These results identify the immediate outcome of the PAON.




Dean Clinic Referral






Inpatient Admission Referral






*Discharge includes service users who declined any further services following the PAON and service users for whom there was not an appropriate service to offer.

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Clinical Outcomes